I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is the Christian Standard Bible Study Bible. Our Bible Team helped write this post.
If you are a ministry leader or pastor, you’ve probably put some thought into how to read the Bible well. Maybe you’ve even taught younger believers about reading the Bible in context or looking for the author’s intent. But it can be easy to lose sight of those simple priorities during Bible reading.
1. Read the Bible Humbly
As we spend time immersed in particular Christian communities, we get used to hearing certain Christian themes again and again—and maybe not hearing others at all. In one church, we might hear 12 sermons in a year about evangelism; in another, we could hear very little about sharing the gospel.
And it’s not just our churches and communities that do this. We each have our own passions, the messages we have built our ministries around, the truths that have shaped our lives. When we spend so much time thinking about one part of who God is or how He calls us to live, we start noticing that in other places. We see it pop up in the Law, the Histories, and the Epistles—everywhere.
Focusing on particular aspects of theology can help us know God more deeply, but it can also distract us from the breadth of who God is. If we start coming to God’s Word only looking for one theme or topic, we lose sight of so many other ways that He deserves our worship. For example, if I approach every passage asking what it tells me about helping the poor, I may overlook what it says about loving my spouse or trusting Jesus.
That’s why reading God’s Word humbly is so essential. We need to be aware of how our biases are shaping how we approach God’s Word, and we need to be careful to listen to what God has to say to us. So what does that look like?
2. Read the Bible Diligently
“Hermeneutics” refers to how we interpret something. When we come to the Bible, how do we find meaning in it? What questions do we ask ourselves about the text? What details do we pay attention to?
Reading the Bible well takes detailed care. That doesn’t mean the Bible is obscure or coded; God invites us to approach Him with a childlike faith. We shouldn’t neglect the truths of Scripture lying right on the surface.
But these truths are deeply embedded in cultural contexts, molded by authorial intent, and communicated in specific words and phrases. And if we take the time to attend to those details, we will find those truths even more amazing. And that can help us find God even more amazing.
If you are a ministry leader or pastor, you have probably studied hermeneutics before, but do you take time to pursue those good, old practices when you are reading the Bible on your own?
3. Read the Bible Relationally
At the end of the day, the Bible is written by God for us. It can sound cliché to talk about the Bible as a letter to God’s people, but at its core, the Bible was intended to communicate God’s heart to the world. So what does this really mean for us?
It means that it has truth for how we should live, not just how “the American church” or the people in the neighboring pew should live. It means that it nourishes us and gives us life. Let’s not neglect reading the Bible relationally, for it is God’s Word to us. Through the Bible we come to know our Father, our Savior, our Creator, our Rock, and our Refuge.
The CSB Study Bible is designed to help you understand God’s Word and be transformed by it. Scripture is primary on every page, featuring the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible and enhanced with helpful tools pertinent to the passage on the same page.
Designed for lifelong discipleship, the CSB Study Bible features the award-winning Holman study system, which includes over 16,000 study notes, 386 word studies, and more than 200 additional full-color resources, as well as articles from respected Bible scholars like Ed Stetzer, Mark Dever, Andreas Kostenberger, and Mary Kassian.
The result is a study Bible that helps you learn and apply the life-transforming message of God’s Word for every day, year after year.